[XMAS BUFFET] Feast in Merriment @ Element, Amara Singapore

Hello everyone!

Let’s begin this post with a Christmas song sing-along! I know, why don’t we sing Deck The Halls, a crowd favourite at any Christmas party for sure?

♪ Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la 
♪ Tis the season to be jolly FATTY
Fa la la la la, la la la la ♪

Throw away your skinny jeans and belts because with all the Christmas-themed buffets in town, stretch pants are back in fashion once again! With so many festive buffets to choose from but a limited calorie budget to work with, hopefully this write-up on the Yuletide dinner and lunch buffet that’s set to launch on the eve of Christmas at Element (courtesy of Amara Singapore) would help you decide if it’s worthwhile to expand your waistline for. That is, unless you belong to the ‘I-can-eat-as-much-as-I-want-and-I-will-still-be-skinny’ group.

In which case, I hate you.

—🎄 Appetisers 🎄—

Cognac Lobster Bisque

Cognac Lobster Bisque

In the pot, this may look like an ordinary lobster bisque to you but it actually includes an ingredient which gives it an extra zing of flavour – Cognac. Added last to the bisque for a stronger kick, the smoothness and silky richness of the Cognac marries well with the sweetness and creaminess of the soup. Perhaps to cater to children and non-drinkers at the buffet, only a soupçon of Cognac was added so the slight bitter and tangy aftertaste that I got from the lobster bisque didn’t occur to me that it was Cognac. In fact, I had thought it was the spiciness from pepper because the distinctive bold flavour of Cognac just wasn’t picked up by my taste bud! Ironically, Fiona, who isn’t a fan of alcohol, could tell in one sip that there was liquor in the bisque 🤷 But it wasn’t too overpowering so she cleaned the bowl in no time!

Personally, I did not really like the texture of the lobster bisque as it was a little too watered-down for my liking and I prefer it to be creamier and heartier. Still, this is a rare find at any buffet and a must-try if you are a crustacean lover like me!

Tuna Tataki with Cucumber Ribbons and Puffed Quinoa

Tuna Tataki with Cucumber Ribbons and Puffed Quinoa

Tuna Tataki with Cucumber Ribbons and Puffed Quinoa (reviewed here)

Tuna Tataki with Cucumber Ribbons and Puffed Quinoa (reviewed here)

One of my favourite dishes at Element makes an appearance again this Christmas! If you’ve not read my verdict on the tuna tataki on my previous post, I urge you to do so now for a more detailed review! But in summary, the cool, softly chewy texture of the Tataki was what does it for me and this was also probably why it was snapped up so quickly at the media tasting event 😍

Editor’s note: Most of them was taken away by you, my dear.

Smoked Duck, Salami and Prosciutto

Smoked Duck, Salami and Prosciutto

Honey Baked Butter Squash with Honey Mustard and Pumpkin Seed

Honey Baked Butter Squash with Honey Mustard and Pumpkin Seed

Diced to bite-sized pieces, the butternut squash felt squishy in the mouth, almost like the texture of potato but softer, and has a lightly sweet and nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin (although many would argue that they’re basically the same considering that they are used interchangeably in certain countries) on its own. The pumpkin seeds give it an added crunch while the honey mustard lends a slightly zestier and more savoury edge. This is definitely the dish to go for if you intend to start the buffet on a healthier note. But being someone who is huge on more piquant flavours, this was rather bland on my palate.

Cocktail Prawn and Crab Meat with Duo Melon

Cocktail Prawn and Crab Meat with Duo Melon

Cocktail Prawn and Crab Meat with Duo Melon

Cocktail Prawn and Crab Meat with Duo Melon

A fine example of a simple yet elegant pairing that cannot go wrong, this dish features shredded crab meat mixed with a mayonnaise base and topped with a mountain of prawns. The prawns, which are deshelled for fuss-free eating, have such irresistibly crunchy and firm texture that I could not help but gobble up at least 15 pieces of them in one sitting. No doubt this is going to be a favourite among children and adults alike at the buffet table!

Marinated Duck Rilette with Red Wine, Dried Fruits and Gherkin Salsa

Marinated Duck Rilette with Red Wine, Dried Fruits and Gherkin Salsa

Believe it or not, the duck rillette took me some courage to overcome my apprehension of trying it. Apart from the fact that I had never eaten meat prepared Rillette-style (a cooking method originated from France 🇫🇷) before, it honestly wasn’t the most appealing dish on the buffet table. But I recalled tasting the tuna tataki for the first time and instantly falling head over heels for it. Thinking that this would turn out the same way, I took the plunge and scooped some of the duck rillette along with the sauce onto my plate.

Voilà! Fortune favours the brave, perhaps. The duck rillette (or rillettes de canard, as the French calls it) came across as a breath of fresh air. Soft and smooth in texture, it was akin to the texture of a pastry or pâté. By itself, the meat was rather salty (and in Fiona’s words, tasted like “mushy canned food”) so pairing it with the red wine sauce – which resembled and tasted delightful like cranberry jam – would be highly recommended as the sweetness of the sauce evens it out. This would also go perfectly with bread!

—🎄 Main Course🎄—

Turkey Buah Keluak

Turkey Buah Keluak

What’s Christmas in Singapore without roast turkey smeared with the familiar buah keluak (yes, it isn’t charred although it looks like it)? From cempadak creme brûlée to pandan pudding, it seems like we can always count on Element to come up with the most innovative fusion food ideas regardless of the occasion. And in case you didn’t know, buah keluak (or pangium edule, Malay for “the fruit which nauseates” 🤨) is dubbed the black truffle of the East as it is considered an acquired taste. Used mainly in Malay, Indonesian and Peranakan cooking, these seeds are obtained from their poisonous fruit and are then made safe for consumption by fermentation.

The presence of the buah keluak lends a bitter and earthy taste to the turkey, which would otherwise be terribly bland and dry like chicken breast meat (but twice as bad). According to the chef, this took three days to prepare which, unless the turkey is served to a large group of people who love jaw-tiringly chewy meat, isn’t worth the effort (and slaughter). That said, I truly appreciate the creativity and ingenuity presented in this dish and would recommend this to homesick non-Asians who don’t mind a little South East-Asian twist.

Stir-fried Moreton Bay Bug with Salted Egg

Stir-fried Moreton Bay Bug with Salted Egg

Who would have thought a foreign-sounding crustacean could be localised into a dish that would fit my palate to an absolute T? The creaminess of the salted egg sauce coupled with the firmness and lightly crispiness of the meat was a dream-come-true.  Unlike typical salted egg dishes that would bring you to a state of surfeit (i.e. “gelat“) after a few mouthfuls, this just kept me asking for more. I figured it was probably due to it being infused with some spice during preparation.

Steamed Garoupa with Lime Beurre Blanc topped with Tomato Vierge

Steamed Garoupa with Lime Beurre Blanc topped with Tomato Vierge

Roasted Chicken with Meat Floss

Roasted Chicken with Meat Floss

Tajima Wagyu Beef with Foie Gras, Truffle Mashed Potato and Port Jus

Tajima Wagyu Beef with Foie Gras, Truffle Mashed Potato and Port Jus

The addition of the foie gras (those whitish slabs but in very limited quantity) was a splendid touch as it helped to bring out the flavour of the wagyu beef even more. However, probably to cater to the masses at the buffet, the meat was generally cooked to medium which made it somewhat tough and chewy and thereby cheapen the quality of the meat. I feel that this would be better suited at the live station so patrons can request for their steak to be cooked to their preferred doneness (which in my case, would be rare). Furthermore, as an avid lover of wagyu beef, it also kinda annoyed me that the beautiful marbling of the wagyu beef was wholly concealed by the charring and port jus sauce 😫 Where’s the justice for the poor wagyu cattle that died for this?

— 🎄 Desserts🎄—

Cempedak Creme Brûlée

Cempedak Creme Brûlée

The Cempedak Creme Brûlée is like the pinnacle of the Christmas tree as it is, without a doubt, the ⭐ of the dessert section (and as a result of that, effectively stealing the thunder from the log cakes at a Christmas-theme buffet 🤣). Find out why this is the best dessert in my tummy’s opinion on my previous review here.

Macarons (Gingerbread Spices / Coconut / Blueberry + Salted Caramel) - 6 pcs/pack at S$16+ or 10 pcs/pack at S$25+

Macarons (Gingerbread Spices [pink] / Coconut [white – highly recommended] / Blueberry + Salted Caramel [blue – highly recommended]) – 6 pcs/pack at S$16+ or 10 pcs/pack at S$25+

Ho, ho, ho! Spot me on the Christmas log cakes!

Ho, ho, ho! Spot me on the Christmas log cakes!

Fancy gifting your loved ones a log cake to commemorate the season of giving? Element also offers traditional log cakes in three tantalising flavours to suit different tastes. They are available for order at the restaurant.

Amara's Signature Cempadak Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$65+)

Amara’s Signature Cempedak Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$65+)

Out of all the log cakes that were brought out, the Cempedak Yule Log Cake was the first to be reduced to nothing which pretty much attests to the popularity of the cempedak in Element’s dessert line-up. The log cake had a fluffy texture with a very robust cempedak flavour that was fragrant and yet not too overpowering at the same time. Each bite of the cake melted in my mouth before I realised what was happening.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$52+)

Dark Chocolate Cherry Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$52+)

 

Pink Champagne Lychee Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$52+) - this is alcoholic

Pink Champagne Lychee Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$52+) – this is alcoholic

Christmas is the time to spend with your family and loved ones, and what better way to do so than to indulge in some cempedak goodness (and many other crowd favourites) at Element? If you’re interested to dine at Element, do make your reservations in advance to avoid being a sad 🐼!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Element at Amara Singapore · 165 Tanjong Pagar Road Singapore 088539 · Tel: 6879 2607 · Nearest MRT station: Tanjong Pagar (EW15) · Click here for more information
Prices and time for Christmas Eve/Christmas Buffet Lunch and Dinner as above

Prices and time for Christmas Eve/Christmas Buffet Lunch and Dinner as above 

The writer is a glutton who occasionally allows his appetite free rein and steals food from Fiona’s plate. Among some of his favourite food are a good steak and meaty crabs doused in chili sauce. Read more posts by Alphonsus here.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for bite-sized food updates!

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[LUNCH BUFFET] Element @ Amara Singapore

Hello everyone!

As the saying goes, all work and no play eat makes Jack a dull hungry boy so when the offer to attend a tasting session at Element Restaurant came, I jumped at it – even if it meant to forgo an entire afternoon of catching up on work.

Conveniently located within a few minutes’ walk away from Tanjong Pagar MRT station in the heart of the Central Business District, Element Restaurant – or rather, Amara Hotel where the restaurant is set – instantly comes to mind as one of the ideal dining destinations for a hearty meal with colleagues or business partners. The restaurant caters to lunch crowds and dinner patrons with a lavish international buffet spread from 11.30 am to 2.30 pm as well as the contemporary Sicilian cuisines in à la carte menus from 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm on Monday to Sunday (except Friday) – the latter of which I had to regrettably give a miss to when it was launched due to a flu bug.

Element Restaurant

Element Restaurant

We ordered a couple of cold beverages (separate charges apply) to whet our appetites at the bar within the restaurant since only coffee and tea are offered as part of the buffet. As far as I am aware, not many buffets allow you the opportunity to order such drinks but Element has their own bar so that alcoholics wine connoisseurs can drink and make merry at the same time.

Mocktail: Shirley Temple (S$13++)

Mocktail: Shirley Temple (S$13++)

Alcoholic: Bailey (S$14++)

Alcoholic: Bailey (S$14++)

Great tasting food is my Achilles heel. But as much as I love to eat, I do have certain standards when it comes to dining at buffets due to the fact that there are many buffets out there masquerading as nothing more than overpriced and over-glorified economical rice dishes.

Amongst all my expectations, a decent variety of food is a must and the spread during the lunch buffet at Element Restaurant was, to say the least, exquisite. According to the staff, the wide assortment of dishes changes daily. From local classics such as Laksa to crowd favourites such as Japanese sushi, sashimi and fresh seafood, there is bound to be something that appeals to your taste buds. To save you from the agony of having to sit through my babbling, the pictures will do most of the talking instead.

— Appetisers —

This section serves an array of bread, soup and dim sum

This section serves an array of bread, soup and dim sum

Assortment of bread

Assortment of bread

Siew Mai

Siew Mai

Soon Kueh

Soon Kueh

Char Siew Pau

Char Siew Pau

— Japanese cuisine —

Sushi spread

Sushi spread

Apart from these Japanese staples, this stop also serves sashimi freshly prepared by the chef stationed there.

— Salad bar —

Mix and match your own salad and toppings!

Mix and match your own salad and toppings!

— Cured and smoked meat —

Selection of cured and smoked meat platter

Selection of cured and smoked meat platter

Cold cut salami

Cold cut salami

Marinated Black Fungus

Marinated Black Fungus

Tuna Tataki

Tuna Tataki

The tuna tataki was one of my favourite! It has a slightly chewy texture that leaves a sourish and slightly spicy aftertaste, leaving my palate refreshed just after a bite. It was my first time trying Tuna Tataki and I absolutely love it because of all the different flavours rolling around on my tongue. Doing a little research, I discovered that Tataki or tosa-mi is actually a Japanese method for preparing fish that has been briefly marinated in vinegar, sliced thinly and seasoned for taste. I strongly recommend this dish to anybody who is a lover of Tuna sashimi – you will surely go back for seconds!

Smoked Salmon

Smoked Salmon

— Seafood —

Seafood aplenty and regularly topped up

Seafood aplenty and regularly topped up

White Clams

White Clams

Moreton Bay Bug

Moreton Bay Bug

I pointed out excitedly to Fiona that there was crayfish at the seafood section and was eagerly adding several pieces of the tasty crustacean onto my plate when I noticed the name of the dish.

Moreton Bay Bug.

BUG? I momentarily froze as that word registered in my head. Thinking that it was a typo error, I quickly whipped my phone out from my pocket to (what else?) Google for more information. It turns out this ‘bug’ is actually a species of slipper lobsters resembling the crayfish which explains my initial confusion (because why would anyone name a delicious food after something so off-putting?). The meat was firm and moist, which means that it was incredibly fresh! While it was my first time eating it, I know it won’t be my last ☺

— Live station —

This is where the chef takes orders from buffet-goers and prepares the food on the spot

This is where the chef takes orders from buffet-goers and prepares the food on the spot

The menu at the live station changes every day. When I was there for food tasting, traditional laksa was the dish of the day. If noodles aren’t your thing, you may also opt for a small portion of claypot rice next to the live station.

Wax Rice with Chinese Sausage, Roasted Meat and Mushroom

Wax Rice with Chinese Sausage, Roasted Meat and Mushroom

— Light snacks —

Mostly cooked food

Mostly cooked food

Japanese Salmon Croquette with Spicy Mayo

Japanese Salmon Croquette with Spicy Mayo

Crispy Chicken Wings so good, Fiona ate about 8 pieces

Crispy Chicken Wings so good, Fiona ate about 8 pieces

— Desserts —

Sweet and savoury desserts to conclude your buffet experience

Sweet and savoury desserts to conclude your buffet experience

Pandan Pudding

Pandan Pudding

Cempedak Creme Brulee & Blueberry Panna Cotta

Cempedak Creme Brulee & Blueberry Panna Cotta

THIS is the star of my entire meal in my humblest and honest opinion. Element’s Cempedak Creme Brulee is out of this world! I am quite sure even Gordon Ramsay would not have anything negative to say about it. Do not be deceived by the small unassuming saucer for it packs a punch in its delivery of flavours. The Cempedak is the smaller cousin of the Jackfruit. Compared to the Jackfruit, the Cempedak is sweeter and has a stronger aroma when ripen. I caught a whiff of the aroma while I was walking past the dessert section which was what led me to try it. I had no regrets at all but if there was one, it was not helping myself to more servings of the dessert before the buffet service ended. It is a seasonal fruit and as such I do not expect this dish to be available all year around so I highly recommend you to try it if you get the chance.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience dining at Element. The servers were very friendly and responsive – our plates were cleared constantly and the warm smiles they carried on their faces increased the pleasure of our dining experience. And no, our tables were not cleared all the time because we were there on a media invite. Looking around, I also noticed that other guests were also the subject of such excellent service and hospitality.

Thanks for reading!

Element at Amara Singapore
165 Tanjong Pagar Road
Singapore 088539
Tel: 6879 2607
Nearest MRT station: Tanjong Pagar

International Lunch Buffet
Monday to Friday, 11.30 am – 2.30 pm
Adult: S$49++
Child (6-12 years old): S$25++
Reservations: Chope | Quandoo

The writer is a glutton who occasionally allows his appetite free rein and steals food from Fiona’s plate. Among some of his favourite food are a good steak and meaty crabs doused in chili sauce. Read more posts by Alphonsus here.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for bite-sized food updates!

KUVO @ Orchard Shopping Centre

MEDIA INVITE

Hey everyone! *waves deliriously*

It has been close to a month since my last update so I thought I should swing by to break the silence of this blog, as well as to apologise for my sudden hiatus due to my school (mainly my final-year project) and work commitments. Owing to my hectic schedule, I had to turn down quite a number of collaboration opportunities over the past few months but somehow when the invite came from the friendly folks at Media Flair to experience the new food menu and bespoke cocktail pairings at KUVO, my heart screamed for me to accept the invitation. After days of not eating well, perhaps it was about time to feed my body with some decent food!

Cheers!

Cheers!

Discreetly nestled on the second floor of the outmoded Orchard Shopping Centre located next to the H&M building, KUVO is almost inconspicuous to the casual observer. Unless you are in the know about the latest food and beverage offerings in town, or are extremely attentive to your surroundings, it is highly unlikely that you would have heard of this multi-concept restaurant and bar. In my years of walking back and forth between Orchard Cineleisure and Somerset MRT station, I had never once noticed their signage along the walkway of Orchard Shopping Centre due to their (pardon my frankness) poor visibility and lack of attention-grabbing flair. Nevertheless, even if they did catch my eye, I honestly don’t think I would be inclined to dine at KUVO at all given the uninviting look of the building’s façade.

Signage along the walkway

Signage along the walkway

Entrance of KUVO

Entrance of KUVO

But boy, the idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover” couldn’t have been more apt here because the restaurant looks nothing like the frontage of the building. Marked by a vast floor area of 9,500 square feet, KUVO comprises a bar and a large dining area offering afternoon tea at one end and all-day international menu at the other, complete with velvet sofa, soothing lighting and live music towards the end of the week. Evidently, the whole restaurant was designed with comfort and sophistication in mind, making it the perfect place for office workers to unwind after a long day at work. Furthermore, it’s easily accessible as it’s smacked right at Orchard Road!

The helmsmen at the bar in KUVO, Yutaka Nakashima.

The helmsmen at the bar in KUVO, Yutaka Nakashima.

The bar is helmed by award-winning Japanese mixologist and culinarist, Yutaka Nakashima who serves up novel and quirky individual bespoke cocktails at S$21++. To further illustrate his unique creativity, he uses a coffee mixer to create his cocktail concoction!

Concocting alcohol with a coffee mixer!

Concocting alcohol with a coffee mixer!

Live band area

Live band area – it would be a challenge to carry out conversations when the live band performs because they can be pretty loud

Have a sweet tooth? Get your sugar fix here! Chocolates and cakes are sold in this little space between the Ambrosia and the dining area

Have a sweet tooth? Get your sugar fix here! Chocolates and cakes are sold in this little space between the Ambrosia and the dining area

Dining area

Dining area

A wide selection of wine to choose from at the dining area

A wide selection of wine to choose from at the dining area

The Gazebo, catered for private functions

The Gazebo, catered for private functions

Despite its prime location, KUVO serves great food at reasonable prices and are constantly looking at ways to enrich the dining experience through the expansion of food choices and recently the introduction of the concept of pairing food and custom-made cocktails.

Grilled Octopus (S$16++)

Grilled Octopus (S$16++)

Up close: Grilled Octopus

Up close: Grilled Octopus. Shout-out to Chubby Botak Koala for loaning me his awesome photography light.

This Spanish-inspired dish was among the first few starters delivered to our table. Sous-vide and served with slow-cooked potato and smoked paprika, the slices of octopus leg were chunky and chewy with a slight charred taste. The unsuspecting potato was soft, expertly prepared and strangely more appetising than the octopus. Even though this was recommended on the menu, I didn’t think it was tasty enough to leave a lasting impression.

Calamari Ajilo (S$16++)

Calamari Ajillo (S$16++)

In this yet another recommended dish with a Spanish influence, the calamari is sauteed in garlic and extra virgin olive oil and topped with pork chorizo. While the calamari rings were indeed tender and well-cooked, they were poorly seasoned and hence were disappointingly bland on the palate. It was a shame because I had thought this dish would be a pleasant change from the classic fried version everywhere else was offering. Rather than being a star on its own, I had to ingest it with something else to make up for the lack of flavour.

KUVO Atlantic Cod Meuniere (S$20++)

KUVO Atlantic Cod Meuniere (S$20++)

In spite of the rather unsatisfactory start, things were fortunately picking up from the third dish – a sweet pea-crusted fresh cod medallion garnished with pearl barley fricassee and citrus nutty-brown butter alongside some asparagus and carrot. The sides revealed a smooth and melt-in-your-mouth texture as delicate as snow and it had such unforgettable freshness and sweetness that kept me wanting more! The creamy and viscous sauce married well with the cod too – absolutely delightful!

Brandy Flambéed Beef Cube (S$22++)

Brandy Flambéed Beef Cube (S$22++)

Before we transitioned into the cocktail pairings segment, we had beef cubes flashed-seared to give it a vividly pink centre, flambéed with brandy and finally glazed with red wine sauce for an added acidic touch. The portion was relatively generous for a starter and it could easily pass off as a main course. Still, it would take a herculean effort to stop at one serving because those beef cubes were a mouthful of thick, hearty and luscious mellowness packed a punch of flavours. They were thoroughly easy on the teeth and the bite-size makes them all the more convenient to eat. I opted for another serving because I couldn’t get enough of the tenderness and the mouth-watering blend of succulence and piquancy of the beef cubes. Needless to say, this dish stole the show that evening and I wouldn’t mind going back just for this.

KUVO Coffee Hot Wings (S$14++)

KUVO Coffee Hot Wings (S$14++)

Up close: KUVO Coffee Hot Wings

Up close: KUVO Coffee Hot Wings

Since KUVO opens late into the night every day, you can expect to find people who are just there for the alcohol and supper-goers because they serve fantastic choice of finger food, or foods that help to satisfy any hunger pangs. An example would be the coffee-flavoured spicy mid-joint wings with baby carrot crudites and blue cheese dip.

Despite not being a coffee drinker at all, I found myself diggin’ this seemingly weird combination. It didn’t have the brutal taste of coffee and the added heat made it even more enjoyable. The blue cheese dip was surprisingly nice, had little to no hint of the rotten sour cream taste that is typically associated with blue cheese and it helped heaps to neutralise the spiciness (which, by the way, was quite a kick on its own). The wing, together with the condiments were by and large fantastic. I liked how the coffee flavour had a good blend of sweet and bitter which goes perfectly well with beer or the recommended Brewski Yen.

Brewski Yen (S$21++)

Brewski Yen (S$21++)

The Brewski Yen has the thirst-quenching properties of Kirin beer as well as an added tang of Suze, lemon and ginger ale. I personally found the ginger taste a little too overbearing for me (what’s more, I’m not even a ginger fan to begin with) but I took a leap of courage and managed to down everything to the last drop. Woohoo!

Slipper Lobster (S$15++)

Slipper Lobster (S$15++)

Top view: Slipper Lobster

Top view: Slipper Lobster

Those with a more refined taste can opt for sauteed slipper lobster adorned with habanero (a kind of chilli pepper), bell peppers and cilantro. Ease of eating is assured in this dish as the lobster meat is carefully deshelled and cooked before inserting it back to the shell again.  While it failed to impress me because I didn’t feel that the portion and the taste make up for the price, my boyfriend liked the flavours and how the juices were still exuding with each bite. The heat from the peppers was a delightful addition as well.

Hello Cel'lo (S$21++)

Hello Cel’lo (S$21++)

Complementing the slipper lobster is the Hello Cel’lo cocktail made with Bankes London dry Gin, limoncello liqueur, celery bitters and balsamico. Liquor connoisseurs who are familiar with the ingredients should already a rough idea how it’d taste like. If you don’t, recall the bitterest beverage you have ever drunk in your life and multiply the acridity tenfold. You seriously haven’t tasted the extreme end of the bitterness spectrum until you have tried Hello Cel’lo because, I swear, this takes the cake. So unless you have marvelous tolerance for bitter foods (or are already used to the pungent taste of alcohol), steer clear of Hello Cel’lo!

Wagyu & Camembert Sliders (S$17++)

Wagyu & Camembert Sliders (S$17++)

Wagyu beef patty

Wagyu beef patty

In an attempt at fusing Western and Eastern delicacies, KUVO had put together a pair of sliders featuring thick and succulent housemade wagyu beef patty topped with fresh lettuce and irresistible Camembert cheese and portobello sauce, accompanied by cheese rolls and shrimp wantons on a platter. Much as we would like to commend on the texture of the patty (not overdone and was incredibly moist), we thought it was totally unnecessary to mince such high-graded beef to make the patty because it had clearly lost its distinctive fat marbling and sweetness in the process. As beef lovers (especially of those obtained from Wagyu cattle), we had high expectations for the patty but were sorely disappointed by the execution. Having said that, if you’re not as fussy as us, you would most likely enjoy the sliders as much as many of the fellow food bloggers present at the event.

Sliced Wagyu & Camembert Sliders

Sliced Wagyu & Camembert Sliders

Moving on to the other elements on the platter, we had shrimp wantons deep fried to golden brown with wasabi mayonnaise drizzled over them. Delicious! I wished there were more of the wantons! Next to them were cheese rolls sitting atop a dash of truffle cream. Disguised as Chinese spring rolls, they crumbled crisply when I stuck my fork into the centre. Perhaps because remnants of the patty were still lingering in my mouth, I couldn’t quite make out the taste of cheese. In fact, I wasn’t aware that they were made of cheese until I read the description on the menu.

Green Iceland (S$21++)

Green Iceland (S$21++)

Paired with the sliders was the Green Iceland cocktail which combines KUVO’s Italian Antica Fratta sparkling wine, Japanese umeshu, lime, brown sugar and mint leaves for extra freshness. The tongue-tingling sensation it lent was refreshing and soothing on palate. The crushed ice melted rather quickly so it kinda diluted the bitterness after a while.

English Scotch Egg (S$14++)

English Scotch Egg (S$14++)

A peek inside the English Scotch Egg

A peek inside the English Scotch Egg. No yolk oozing out because I missed the middle part where the egg was, sorry!

Coated with breaded minced wagyu beef (oh dear..) and veal meat (choice of tuna available as well), then crowned with a layer of melted edam cheese and served with red wine onion au jus at the base, KUVO takes this classic British picnic snack to the next level. When cut through in the middle, the warm and sultry yolk from the inside oozes all over the dish, further amplifying the luscious richness of the sauce while providing a nice contrast to the crisp crust of the scotch egg.

Don’t underestimate the size of the portion (a little smaller than my palm) – the fillings were so monstrously loaded, I felt slightly glutted in the end. Nevertheless, this dish is definitely deserving of a share of the spotlight. Not only is it affordable (only S$14++!), it fills your tummy as well, so I highly recommend you try this when you’re at KUVO!

Captain B.R. (S$21++)

Captain B.R. (S$21++)

Adding to the British flair is the cocktail accompaniment to this dish called Captain B.R. – short for Captain British Rum – which is created with Earl Grey Infused Rum, fresh lemon and soda water. Laced with touches of floral notes and hints of citrus, this cocktail is an absolute delight to drink even for a non-alcoholic drinker like myself!

Kurobuta Yakiniku Donburi (S$16++)

Kurobuta Yakiniku Donburi (S$16++)

Finally, bearing in mind that there would be people who had to have some carbs in their diet, we rounded off the evening with a Japanese rice bowl dish humbly topped with a small serving of perfectly seasoned and grilled kurobuta pork loin as well as molten egg that serves as the sauce, and finished off with a sprinkle of chopped spring onion. The portion is certainly appetizer-sized, so don’t expect to feel satiated with this dish that can be devoured in 3 spoonfuls.

Tales of Shu (S$21++)

Tales of Shu (S$21++)

Brewed in the glass vacuum coffee maker as mentioned earlier, this cocktail is freshly prepared with ingredients that are beneficial to the health like genmai tea, saké, Lillet Blanc, and fresh orange peel. The concoction is subsequently poured into an ochoko (saké cup) to complement the Kurobuta Yakiniku Donburi. Tales of Shu has an immensely sharp taste comparable to that of Hello Cel’lo. Therefore, one sip was all it took to make me cringe :-S But should you be able to handle strong bitterness, do consider giving this healthy cocktail a shot!

Midsummer Breeze (S$12++)

Midsummer Breeze (S$12++)

If alcoholic drinks are out of bounds for you, there is also an array of mocktails for you to choose from but you have to approach the waiting staff for assistance because mocktails are not listed on the menu. Midsummer Breeze, the only mocktail I was served, contains melon mangosteen tea, orange juice and passion fruit. Sweet and refreshing with the taste of passion fruit sticking out, it’s the kind of tropical mocktail that takes you to the beach side on a hot and sunny afternoon.

On the whole, KUVO is a hidden gem, that’s for sure! Although there are a few misses on the revamped menu, there are definitely more hits and hence worthy of a second visit. Now that KUVO is on my radar, I will certainly be returning to try out other dishes on the menu 😉

What are your thoughts? Do share them with me!

Thanks for reading!

KUVO
Orchard Shopping Centre
321 Orchard Road #02-01
Singapore 238866
Nearest MRT station: Somerset
Operating hours:
Sunday – Thursday & Public Holidays: 12pm to 1am
Friday, Saturday and Eve of Public Holidays: 12pm to 2am
Tel: +65 6733 8272
E-mail: reservation@KUVO.com.sg
Website | Facebook | Instagram

‘Tis the Season to be Feasting at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport

MEDIA INVITE

Hey everyone!

As the year draws to a close, many of us are getting into the holiday spirit by decking our houses with Christmas and New Year decorations.  At the same time, we may also take this opportunity to gather our loved ones for a memorable reunion. But no reunion would be complete without great food that puts everyone in the festive mood and what better place to experience both simultaneously than throwing a little party at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport where you are able to enjoy a wide selection of delicious and hearty meals? 😉

If you’re intending to play host to this year’s Christmas or New Year celebration but don’t feel like sweating your butt off in the kitchen and yet have no idea where to hold it, Crowne Plaza has rolled out a variety of dining options this yuletide season that centres around conversations and connections. The inspired fusion of flavours and menu items offered at their Lobby Lounge (Yuletide Takeaways) and Azur Restaurant (Festive Buffet) are sized to suit smaller more intimate gatherings among close friends and immediate family members.

Yuletide Takeaways @ Lobby Lounge

From 1 to 26 December 2015, guests can tuck into a series of delights from the Lobby Lounge specially created for this festive month at the comfort of their home. Feast your eyes and stomach on a gourmet paradise of beef, turkey and lamb, as well as a mouthwatering lineup of cakes and pastries to tantalise your taste buds.

But before I go into those, let’s kick things off with some appetisers!

Pumpkin salad

Pumpkin salad – a mix of pumpkin and chestnut

Fruit salad

Fruit salad – a mix of apple, tomatoes, melons, strawberry and nuts

Scallop topped with salmon caviar

Scallop topped with salmon caviar (price not available)

Scallop topped with salmon caviar

Scallop topped with salmon caviar

Salmon cavier

Salmon caviar

The scallop was well-seared on both sides with a fleshy, juicy and fibrous middle. It was drenched in salty gravy and paired with a layer of spinach at the bottom. The salmon caviar gave an additional burst of flavour. However, you may need to request for this dish because it’s not listed on the order chit.

The highlight of the Yuletide Takeaways is the Roasted Texas BBQ Beef Short-Rib which is sous vide (sealed in airtight plastic bags then placed in a hot-water bath of 70 degree Celsius, the same reheating method if you’re planning to eat it at a later time) for 24 hours before being roasted in the oven.

Roasted Texas BBQ Beef Short-Rib (S$120+, 1kg)

Roasted Texas BBQ Beef Short-Rib (S$120+, 1kg)

Roasted Texas BBQ Beef Short-Rib

Roasted Texas BBQ Beef Short-Rib

The ambrosial yet not-too-overwhelming flavour of the beef short-rib comes mainly from the BBQ gravy which sweetness is melded with the natural fragrance of the meat. The short-rib itself was incredibly soft with a gorgeous pink centre and perfectly rendered fat. And because it was so tender and buttery, none of it got stuck in my teeth! However, due to the time factor in the preparation of the Roasted Texas BBQ Beef Short-Rib, an advance order of 3-4 days is required prior to collection.

Roasted Texas BBQ Beef Short-Rib

Roasted Texas BBQ Beef Short-Rib

Of course, when it comes to a Christmas get-together, the dining table needs to have some sort of a roast bird, usually turkey. Having eaten it about twice in my life, I had come to a conclusion that turkey meat is not my cup of tea because of its awfully dry and tough texture. I assumed it was the same for all turkey meat in general. But Crowne Plaza has managed to prove me wrong once again!

Roasted Turkey with Turmeric Coriander Spices (S$135+, 1 kg)

Roasted Turkey with Turmeric Coriander Spices (S$135+, 1 kg)

Doused in rich and delectable Spicy Coconut Cream Sauce that tastes like sweet curry, the Roasted Turkey with Turmeric Coriander Spices is a classic example of when East meets West. The turkey itself is roasted for 6 hours at 70 degree Celsius to a golden yellow and, although somewhat thicker than chicken meat, was an absolute joy to eat for it was so succulent and chewy! The thin savoury skin (the closest description I can think of is that it is quite similar to the roast chicken skin at Poulét) was the winner for me because it was what got me hooked! I just couldn’t resist getting more servings of the turkey meat XD

Roasted Turkey with Turmeric Coriander Spices

Roasted Turkey with Turmeric Coriander Spices

If you prefer a more traditional take on the turkey, the House Special Roasted Turkey Marinated with Maple Glaze and Chestnut Stuffing served with Cranberry Sauce (S$135+, 5 kg) might just be what you’re looking for! Each whole turkey can serve approximately six to eight guests comfortably.

When it comes to celebrating Christmas, one cannot forget the lamb due to its significance in the bible (and symbolism of Christ). The Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Garlic & Caramelised Shallot Sauce ($160+, 2.6 kg) is soaked in orange brine overnight before being marinated in a fragrant combination of rosemary and garlic, and finally slow roasted at 70 degrees Celsius for over seven hours. If you’re game to try something new this Christmas (since lamb is more commonly served on Easter), you might want to give this dish a go!

Rounding out the Christmas menu from the Lobby Lounge are two festive log cakes handcrafted by the hotel’s pastry chefs because… what’s Christmas without log cakes? Indulge in either the Ispahan-inspired Log Cake with Raspberries Yoghurt Mousse or the more conventional Manjari Chocolate & Hazelnut Praline Yule Log Cake (or both, to get the best of both worlds 😉 ). Featuring a light and tangy raspberry yoghurt mousse overlaying juicy lychee bits and rose-flavoured jelly in the cake centre, the former is the answer to guilt-free (not 100% but still…) log cakes. The slightly tart (acidic) overall taste helps to relieve a bit of the bloatedness from the hearty meal.

Ispahan-inspired Log Cake with Raspberries Yoghurt Mousse (S$65+)

Ispahan-inspired Log Cake with Raspberries Yoghurt Mousse (S$65+)

The chocolate log cake, on the other hand, has a wafer-like hazelnut centre that has got that crunchy going on every bite.  It is not excessively sweet too as there was a tinge of bitterness in the chocolate. Designed to resemble an actual log from an enchanted forest, it comes topped with seasonal decorations like a mini Christmas hat. How cute!

Manjari Chocolate & Hazelnut Praline Yule Log Cake ($65+)

Manjari Chocolate & Hazelnut Praline Yule Log Cake ($65+)

Since Crowne Plaza is conveniently located at Terminal 3 of Changi Airport, guests can, upon returning from their travels, pop in the Lobby Lounge for a quick takeout before heading home. But as most of these dishes require time to prepare, you are encouraged to place your orders at least 3 days in advance to avoid disappointment! To place an order for Yuletide Takeaways, visit the hotel’s Festive Desk (24 Nov – 24 Dec 2015, 9am – 9pm), call +65 6823 5367, fax your order to +65 6823 5301 (Mon – Fri, 9am – 5pm) or email christmas.cpca@ihg.com. The last collection for all Yuletide Takeaways are on 26 December 2016.

Psst.. festive hampers are also on sale if you’d like to build stronger networks with your clients *winks* More information can be found here.

Festive Buffet @ Azur

Otherwise, if you dislike waiting, Azur Restaurant also has an array of Christmas-themed selections for their festive buffet that’s catered to both Asian and Western taste buds, available from 1 to 30 December 2015. Buffet items are served in small portions to allow sampling of all the different food offered at the international buffet. Looking for ways to reward your staff for their hard work and effort throughout the year? There are round tables for larger group dining reservations for everyone to bond and laugh over brunch, lunch and dinner.

Dessert spread at the buffet

Dessert spread at the buffet

Gingerbread man atop white chocolate and cinnamon

Gingerbread man atop white chocolate and cinnamon

Santa Claus atop raspberry puree

Santa Claus atop raspberry puree

Pricing plan

Christmas Eve Buffet Dinner (24 December 2015)*
Adult $ 70 ++ Child $ 35 ++

Christmas Day Brunch (25 December 2015)*
Adult $ 65 ++ Child $ 32.50 ++

Christmas Day Dinner (25 December 2015)*
Adult $ 75 ++ Child $ 37.50 ++

Boxing Day Brunch (26 December 2015)
Adult $ 65 ++ Child $ 32.50 ++

Festive Buffet Lunch (1 – 23, 27 – 30 December 2015)
Adult $ 45 ++ Child $ 22.50 ++

Festive Buffet Dinner (1 – 23, 26 – 30 December 2015)
Adult $ 55 ++ Child $ 27.50 ++

New Year’s Eve Lunch (31 December 2015)
Adult $ 45 ++ Child $ 22.50 ++

New Year’s Eve Dinner (31 December 2015)
Adult $ 75 ++ Child $ 37.50 ++

*Spot jolly ‘ol Santa on 24 and 25 December 2015 and receive a little blessing of joy. Santa will be roving around during meal times at Azur Restaurant

To make a reservation, please call 6823 5354 or email azur.cpca@ihg.com. Reservations are highly encouraged. Visit the Crowne Plaza Dining website for more information.

That’s all, fellow foodies! Get feasting! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Crowne Plaza @ Changi Airport
75 Airport Boulevard
Singapore 819664
For reservations: 6823 5367 (Yuletide Takeaways) / 6823 5354 (Festive Buffet)
Or you may email christmas.cpca@ihg.com (Yuletide Takeaways) /
azur.cpca@ihg.com (Festive Buffet)
Please visit their website or Facebook for more information

FIVE Square @ Great Eastern Centre

MEDIA INVITE

Hey everyone!

It was an emotional moment for many Han’s ardent fans when the announcement of the closure of the food chain’s biggest and most popular outlet at Great Eastern Centre came last December. Having served only pocket-friendly gourmet food to hungry office works for a decade, the closure meant that there would be one less affordable eating place amidst the throng of lavish restaurants in the business district.

For months after it shut down, the large ground-floor unit spanning over 13,000 square feet was left vacant for a couple of months before the next lessee took over. With such a vast amount of space, many wondered if the shop would be partitioned into smaller units to accommodate more tenants. Well, it is true enough that the unit has now been cut up into several divisions, but what most people probably didn’t expect was that these different sections are actually operated by the same company in a borderless setting.

FIVE Square @ Great Eastern Centre

FIVE Square @ Great Eastern Centre

Currently occupied by FIVE Square (stylised FIV五 Square), the latest flagship outlet of the FIVE Bar Group cleverly split the unit into 4 different concepts, each signifying a corner that makes up the newly-opened restaurant which has been operating since June 2015. From an impressive range of food choices at The Bazaar to alcoholic beverages like beer, wine and whiskey, there is clearly something for everyone.

The Bar

Synonymous with the renowned all-day-everyday $5 food and drink specials offered at other FIVE outlets, the Bar delivers the FIVE tradition of offering all-day happy hour that doesn’t break the bank. Enjoy sports screenings on large televisions and ‘live’ local bands performances at this 300-seater lounge every night while you hang out with your pals over beer, wine or sake at just $5 per glass.

The stage for live performances

The stage for live performances

The Bar

The Bar

Asahis and Kronenbourg 1664s

Asahi’s and Kronenbourg 1664’s

To chill the glass

To chill the glass

Tapping some beer

Luke showing us how to tap some beer, complete with the foam and all

Successfully did my first beer tapping! Not too bad for a first-timer.

Successfully did my first beer tapping! Not too bad for a first-timer.

And mind you, it’s not just any beer either – it’s icy cold beer! Unlike many pubs which derive their beer from keg coolers at about 4-5 degree Celcius, all beer at the Bar is directly dispensed from the cold room at 0 degree Celsius. It is especially uncommon to find cold rooms at local establishments these days due to the lack of space.

Cold room

Cold room

The Wine Cellar

Located in a tranquil little corner overlooking the busy cross junction into the CBD, visitors can sit back and watch the world go by while sipping on some wine at any time of day. With over a hundred labels of quality wines listed at the Wine Cellar, there are plenty of wine to choose from for a tête-à-tête between friends or for takeaway as gifts or for parties.

The Recess

Hidden away from the public gaze is the Recess which name is a play on words literally meaning going into a hole in the wall, to take a break from (work) proceedings. The secretive location of this 50-seater space makes it an ideal venue for company functions. It enables networking in this sophisticated and posh environment that is free of disruption from external noise and foot traffic while sipping on premium and rare whiskies without the exorbitant price tags. You would also be surprised to find popular whiskies that are already sold out across the rest of the globe!

The semi-hidden entrance to the Recess

The semi-hidden entrance to the Recess

The Recess

The Recess

The Recess

The Recess

Whiskies at the Recess

Whiskies at the Recess

Whiskies at the Recess

Whiskies at the Recess

The Bazaar

Majority of the space at FIVE Square is dedicated to this self-service gourmet food hall that seats up to 300 people. Similar to its predecessor, the Bazaar offers a variety of reasonably priced food for lunch and dinner to feed busy executives and families around the area as well as the merry-makers drinking at the adjacent bar, wine bar or whisky room – all part of FIVE Square.

The Bazaar

The Bazaar

There are five gourmet stalls offering dishes from around the world. Apart from Asian cuisines like Japanese donburis, Korean Bulgogi and our very own wholesome noodles with a twist, the Bazaar also boasts European classics such as Spanish Tapas and German Bratwurst Sausages served with pork, chicken and steak. Vegans and health-conscious individuals can opt for hearty salads to pair with fresh fruit juices from the beverage stall. With so many choices, FIVE Square has managed to achieve a fine balance of everyday affordability and occasional decadence to create a dining concept that can be your everyday lunch spot or your weekly indulgence. What’s more, all prices are nett! Yay to no service charge and GST! 🙂

The food stalls are open from 10am to 10pm every Monday to Saturday.

Beverage stall

Beverage stall

Papaya Milk Shake

Beat the heat with a cup of refreshing Papaya Milk Shake (S$4.50)

1. Cinqo Tapas

A spin-off from the popular Tachinomi Izakaya-inspired Five Tapas Bar at Cuppage Terrace, the Spanish-equivalent to its name (well, sort of, if cinco is spelt properly) offers a selection of the hot-selling items such as the garlic cockles (S$6), bacon mushrooms (S$6) and whole pork knuckle (S$28). For lunch, Cinqo serves up two different Paellas ($9.50) cooked fresh daily – the traditional seafood staple is available every day while the Paella of the day varies. These special Paellas include several Asian-inspired flavours such as the Claypot Rice Paella, Hainanese Chicken Rice Paella and Thai Pineapple Rice Paella which fuses local flavours with European ingredients and cooking styles; a definite must-try!

Cinqo Tapas

Cinqo Tapas

Seafood in Chilli Crab Sauce Pizza (S$15)

Seafood in Chilli Crab Sauce Pizza (S$15)

Seafood in Chilli Crab Sauce Pizza (S$15)

Seafood in Chilli Crab Sauce Pizza (S$15)

Hand-tossed with a 10-inch thin crust, this seafood pizza came topped with a generous shower of squids which unfortunately were too dry and tough for my liking. The chilli crab sauce also failed to impress as it lacked heat and flavour, therefore making the overall taste bland. However, I did enjoy the airy and crispy crust. It was well-balanced with just the right amount of doughy goodness. The pizza is available all-day at S$15 in 5 other flavours – Pepperoni, Vegetarian, Asian-Inspired, Quattro Formaggi and Prosciutto Carpegna & Arugula.

I was supposed to try their signature Paella too, but my stomach had reached its peak by the time it was ready to be served. It was pity as I was pretty sure it would be a million times tastier than the pizza considering the number of times I was urged (albeit subtly) by the marketing team to try it. The unique flavour combinations, too, are definitely worthy of a shot.

The menu gets even more enticing at dinner (from 5pm) with the addition of Truffle Fries (S$10), Angus Beef Carpaccio (S$10), Angus Beef Cubes (S$12), Pan Seared Foie Gras (S$12) and many other crowd favourites. With so many food options at Cinqo to rouse your palate, you certainly would see yourself coming back for more!

2. Teppei Syokudo

If the name rings a bell, that’s because Teppei Syokudo is indeed a branch from its famous parent restaurant, Teppei, at Tanjong Pagar. Best known for his top-grade yet affordable Japanese food at his flagship restaurant, Chef Teppei brings the same goodies that have made him such a hit to his latest outlet at FIVE Square – the Katsu Don (S$15.80), Chicken Nanban Bento (S$13.80), and the ever popular Kaisendon (S$16.80) which are literally flying off the counter. There is also a wide selection of Izakaya style snacks specially created to cater to the drinking crowd!

Teppei Syokudo

Teppei Syokudo

Kaisendon

Kaisendon (S$16)

Kaisendon

Kaisendon

Being the first dish I had sampled for this tasting session, Teppei had unknowingly set the bar for the food standard at the Bazaar sky high with this divine bowl of Kaisendon. This seafood don had thick, large and absolutely fresh salmon sashimi cubes and tuna sashimi chunks atop a bed of well-prepared Japanese rice and completed with tobiko and a tiny dollop of wasabi to clear the palate. The sashimi are to die for and the entire dish was simply scrumptious. It’s so SYOK, I swear!

After a few mouthfuls of the Kaisendon, I had to battle with my inner self to abstain from devouring some more because of the sprawl of food before me. It was tough but I eventually managed to achieve this almost-impossible feat – only after gobbling down every piece of the sashimi in the bowl.

Pork Katsu with Egg

Pork Katsu with Egg (S$15.80)

Served alongside a separate bowl of Japanese rice, the katsudon was another plate of comfort. Besides giving the dish texture, the corn also lent a mild sweetness to the overall flavour. Portions were generous as there was quite a fair bit of pork. The meat was tender and there was sufficient gravy and egg scramble to make it moist yet maintaining the crunch of the batter at the same time.

3. Omnivore

From the brains behind The Soup Spoon comes another healthy concept that offers wholesome salads and grills. Whether you’re a meat eater or a veggie lover, you’d be able to find food that suits your diet at Omnivore. From salads for the Herbivores (S$6.80) and perfectly grilled meat platters for the Carnivores (S$16.80) to a combination of both for the Omnivores (S$12.80), there are numerous food combinations to choose from to create your own perfect plate of healthy goodness. Not sure what to eat? The fickle-minded can also opt for the Carnivore sample platter (S$24.80) which comprises everything!

Omnivore

Omnivore (S$12.80)

Omnivore

Omnivore

Having a balanced meal is imperative in making your body function properly but many a time, busy working professionals fall short on essential nutrients like fresh vegetables or proteins from surviving on merely convenience food. If you’re guilty of this, hopefully this dish would propel you to eat more healthily!

Offering the best of both worlds, not only would you get half-sized Herbibowl (a.k.a. salad) on your Omnivore plate, you would also be able to choose a meat and housemade sauce of your choice. I was given grilled chicken thigh doused with Ponzu Miso Butter sauce that had a sweet citrusy taste and a subtle sour finish to it. The chicken was succulent and cooked perfectly and there were even crispy wonton skins (without fillings) to spruce up your greens (if you’re not a veggie person, that is).

Carnivore Sample Platter

Carnivore Sample Platter (S$21.80)

Carnivore Sample Platter

Carnivore Sample Platter

A food heaven for the carnivores, this platter has all the (common) meat to fulfill your protein needs. Indulge in grilled pork cutlet, 100% NZ grass-fed flank steak, Bratwurst sausage, chicken thigh and chicken breast with this brilliantly thought-out dish. They were all well-garnished and lean. Better still, they also came with a homemade sauce of my choice, or rather, two in my case since it was a food tasting session. I had Ponzu Miso Butter and House Gravy, both of which had their own distinctive taste to compensate for the lack of flavour of the platter. Ponzo had a thicker consistency while House Gravy was lighter and way blander.

However, except the sausage, I personally found the meat (especially the steak) rather dry and tough in general. But then again, perhaps I had too high of an expectation for this platter. Also, unless you’re extremely hungry, chances are you wouldn’t be able to finish the entire platter. Therefore, it’d be a better idea to share this with friends or colleagues!

4. Gogibox

Gogibox is the first quick-serve Korean food concept in Singapore offering 7-8 kinds of daily freshly grilled Bulgogi for you to choose from. They pride themselves on their Bulgogi—literally meaning “fire meat”— which they consider to be  their strength and culinary weapon. On top of that, Gogibox also offers 3 kinds of Korean fried rices namely kimchi, prawn and bulgogi marinade. Snacks like fried dumplings are provided on the side menu should you feel like getting some quick bites.

Gogi Plate - Beef

Gogi Plate – Beef (S$8.50, top-up S$1.80 for each additional meat)

Gogibox’s signature is the Gogi Plate served in a takeaway box. It comes with 1 choice of Korean fried rice, 1 choice of bulgogi (beef, chicken, spicy chicken, spicy pork, pork galbi, gochujang pork bell or wine pork belly), fried egg and a side of salad, all combining to give you a complete meal that would leave you satiated without burning a hole in your pocket at the same time.

My first impression of this dish was that it looked dry but fortunately my beef turned out to be deliciously sweet with the right tenderness. Apart from the beef, the flavours were also coming from the fragrant kimchi fried rice. Presentation-wise, it suffered because of the broken and dried-up egg yolk. And being served egg yolk that is anything but runny is sadly at the top of my list of pet peeves :\ Therefore I didn’t really enjoy Gogi Plate as much as I wanted to.

Gogi Dog

Gogi Dog – Chicken (S$6.80)

If you’re in the mood for a lighter bite, there are plenty of options at Gogibox like Gogi Dog and Gogi Taco that can fill your stomach for awhile. The Gogi Dog is a combination of American hot dog and the bulgogi. It had soft and fluffy buns sandwiching fresh, crunchy cabbage and a steaming hot sausage. The saltiness from the sausage also helped to balance out the overall flavour.

Gogi Taco

Gogi Taco  – Spicy Chicken (S$6.80)

The Gogi Taco, on the other hand, is Gogibox’s interpretation of Mexican taco using thick and chewy wraps and the freshest vegetables. Although not very spicy (it could well be after several bites), the chicken still left a tingling sensation in the mouth. It also has the tendency to become a messy affair if not careful. Divide it with cutlery if you’re a messy eater like me. It surprising cut very smoothly!

Omnivore (left) and Gogibox

Omnivore (left) and Gogibox

5. GRUB Noodle Bar

Previously located at Rangoon Road, the popular brand of noodles has finally made its way to a more accessible location at the CBD. Best known for its tasty broth, it is made using beef bones and vegetables and boiled for long hours to extract the full flavour from the beef bones. Furthermore, it contains no MSG or artificial flavours. GRUB Noodle Bar also prides itself on offering only quality beef with its noodles. Take your pick from grades of beef often only found in high-end steakhouses, starting from a pasture-fed beef brisket (S$10.90) to a tender premium sirloin option (S$13.90).

Grub Noodle Bar

Grub Noodle Bar

Pork Collar Noodles - Dry

Pork Collar Noodles – Dry (S$9.90)

Pork Collar Noodles - Dry

Pork Collar Noodles – Dry

Besides the miso pork broth, GRUB apparently makes great chilli sauce to go along with the noodles too! It was adequately spicy and slightly tart which complemented well with the sweet and flavoursome 100% pork balls and springy egg noodles. If not for my exploding stomach, I would have totally went for one of their the beef noodles as well!

The pork collar noodles is available in both soup (S$7.90) and dry versions. Those with a more exquisite palate may opt for the Kurobuta Collar Noodles that is also sold in soup (S$10.90) and dry (S$12.90) versions.

Payment methods

Payment instructions

Payment instructions

In a bid to reduce reliance on manpower, the Bazaar is the first to roll out a fully automated self-service ordering and payment kiosk. It is integrated to a SMS system which sends customers a message once their food is ready for collection so that they do not have to wait by the store while their orders are prepared. Customers can also use this time to look for a seat or purchase drinks and other items. This system has been warmly received by the masses and touted as a game-changer for the food and beverage industry here.

Family FUN² @ FIVE Square

Although catered mostly to working professionals during the workweek, FIVE Square continues to be abuzz on Saturdays (the only weekend on which it is open for now) with family-centric activities. Starting 10 October 2015, a refreshing concept combining feast, shop and play called Family FUN² @ FIVE Square enables patrons to tuck into a selection of food for lunch and/or dinner and browse through a myriad mix of eclectic items at The Artisan Market while their little ones have a whale of a time at the outdoor Bouncy Castle, mini ball pit and remote control cars.

The free and open-to-public event is only available on Saturdays.

Pushcarts at The Artisan Market

Pushcarts at The Artisan Market

25 vendors will be stationed at The Artisan Market from 12pm to 7pm every Saturday to sell an extensive blend of products and services ranging from hand-made accessories, arts & crafts, fashion apparels, decor, home-ware items and more. Apart from that, visitors can also expect an exciting line up from the bustling marketplace showcasing their participating artisans and lifestyle vendors such as clay miniatures, personalized craft /scrap books, crochet bears, patchwork blankets, bottle lamps and many more, providing a unique shopping experience for both the locals and tourists!

Bouncy Castle

Bouncy Castle

Remote Controlled Cars

Remote Controlled Cars

Mini Ball Pit

Mini Ball Pit

However, the management of FIVE Square is still working on bringing more children-friendly dishes at the Bazaar so food choices for the little ones (especially those below the age of 5) is still quite limited for now. Hence, it is advisable to pack lunch just in case foods like fried calamari do not suit their appetite!

All in all, I feel that FIVE Square has done a pretty good job in taking over Han’s task of providing affordable and quality food for the masses in the CBD area. I, for one, would without a doubt make FIVE Square my regular eating place if I’m working in the vicinity! I will stuff my face with Kaisendon every single day! Omnomnomnomnom.

What about you? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

FIVE Square
Great Eastern Centre @ 1 Pickering Street
#01-03, Singapore 048659
Tel: +65 87980245
Parking available @ Great Eastern Building at the rate of $1.65 per hour
Operation Hours: 10am – 12am, Mondays to Saturdays
Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer / Chinatown / Clarke Quay (all about 5-minute walk away)
Website | Facebook | E-mail

Crab and Crêpe Buffet @ Azur

MEDIA INVITE

Hey everyone!

Due to the distance from where I live, the thought of visiting Changi Airport for recreational purposes has never crossed my mind. All my trips to the airport were either to catch a flight or mainly to welcome the arrival of my loved ones.  They were usually a hasty process so most of the time I would be too preoccupied to explore the surroundings and amenities.

However, every time I was driven to the airport, my attention would never fail to wander off to the façade of Crowne Plaza  The 5-star airport hotel is exceptionally breathtaking with its captivating three-dimensional lace screens resembling orchid petals on the exterior.  It had an inviting presence, yet I had not been inside because I had never wanted to drift too far off the arrival and departure halls. Nobody I know has ever held a wedding banquet there too so there was absolutely no reason for me to set foot in the hotel.

But now, there could be an excuse for me to do so!

From 25 September to 29 November 2015, patrons are able to enjoy Singapore’s most-loved crustacean and delightful savoury and sweet crêpes in an East-meets-West fusion style buffet at the award-winning Azur Restaurant located on the second level of Crowne Plaza Changi Airport. Put together by Executive Chef Kiang Siang Heng and his culinary team, this special weekend-only dinner buffet boasts an array of delectable crab creations, poached tiger prawns and freshly shucked oysters at the seafood bar.

On top of that, diners can also expect sashimi, enticing appetisers like the oriental roasted crêpes (a.k.a Peking Duck Pancakes) and tasty soups at the buffet spread. Finally, finish off the hearty meal with a selection of beloved desserts like durian pancakes, chocolate fountain, ice cream and pastries to give your tongue a sweet twist.

Here are some of the highlights of the buffet that’s bound to be a hit with everyone, regardless of age and especially so if you’re an ultimate crab lover!

Appetisers and Soups

Let’s begin with the first course of the meal. There were 2 choices of soup available – the Hot and Sour Crabmeat and King Crab Bisque with Lemon Cream, each prepared to stimulate different parts of the taste receptors.

Hot and Sour Crabmeat Soup

Hot and Sour Crabmeat Soup

As the name implies, the Hot and Sour Crabmeat Soup was both hot in terms of temperature (not so of spiciness but it could be just me) and slightly acetic with a generous amount of crabmeat and carrot shredded in thin strips. If you’ve tried Sichuan Hot and Sour Soup before, this tasted exactly like it but probably with a lighter texture. However, the soup wasn’t really popular because there was obviously a better option right beside it.

King Crab Bisque with Lemon Cream

King Crab Bisque with Lemon Cream

Under the recommendation of Jolyn who had so kindly extended the media invitation to my boyfriend and I, I tried the King Crab Bisque. Thick, full-of-flavour and rich, the crab bisque was one of the best I had tasted and I had even helped myself to another serving (filled to the brim of the bowl) before leaving the restaurant. It was so darn good. To add a little crunch, I topped the soup with some croutons. Like a sponge, they absorbed the soup and created a mini taste explosion in the mouth. Wouldn’t mind going back again just for this.

Oriental Roasted Duck Crêpes

Oriental Roasted Duck Crêpes

Oriental Roasted Duck Crêpes

Oriental Roasted Duck Crêpes

Oriental Roasted Duck Crêpes

Oriental Roasted Duck Crêpes

Ever since Modern Peking Duck closed permanently at Vivocity and ION Orchard (and does anyone know why and where they are now?), boyfriend and I have been seriously deprived of some succulent Peking roast duck pancakes drenched in delicious hoisin sauce. Fortunately, our psychological craving for them was temporarily satisfied at Azur.

Prepared freshly at room temperature, these crêpes would vanish completely every time a new batch was brought forward. Each roll was made in relatively smaller portion so that you can easily pop it in your mouth. The duck meat was tender but not juicy enough to make up for the absence of hoisin sauce in the roll. Therefore, the entire crêpes actually felt a little dry.

Vegetable Terrine with Roasted Bell Pepper & Chervil Oil

Vegetable Terrine with Roasted Bell Pepper & Chervil Oil

It takes an acquired taste to appreciate terrines because of their unusual taste and texture. But if you love livers, you’d definitely love these. I couldn’t identify the type of meat used to make these terrines (though definitely not pork as Azur doesn’t serve pork and lard but it could well be chicken) because they were extremely soft and delicate to the touch with a buttery feel, like tofu but way smoother and mushier. It didn’t require much effort to break them apart because they would practically just melt in my mouth. However, as I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s not something that most people would enjoy and I, for one, did not 😦

The Homemade Crab in Crêpes Station

The Homemade Crab in Crêpes Station

Combining two main elements of the buffet, the Homemade Crab in Crêpes Station offers a variety of savoury crab fillings like Curry Mayonnaise Crab, Sambal Dry Shrimps Crab, Crab Meat Goulash, Honey Pineapple Chicken and Crab and Crab Wasabi on a plain yet delectable crêpe. The portion is humongous so you’d probably need to share it with your companions.

There is also another crêpe station where you can pick up a hot dessert of delicious French pancake in orange butter sauce.

Seafood Bar, Sashimi & Sushi

Moving on to another segment of the buffet, the seafood bar promises a wide selection of crab dishes such as Spanner Rock Crabs paired with fragrant coriander dressing and Cold Stone Crabs that are best eaten with a mandarin orange compote. You can also make your own cold seafood platter with some Cold Alaska Crab Claws, Poached Tiger Prawns, Freshly Shucked Oysters and perhaps Salmon Sashimi.

Freshly Shucked Oysters

Freshly Shucked Oysters

Perfectly shucked and smoothly tumbled, not a speck of dirt or shell fragmentation could be found on my glistening oysters which looked really seductive by the way. The oysters were gorgeously displayed on a bed of ice to keep them chilled. While they were all remarkably fresh, I felt that they could be even fresher if they were shucked to order. Nevertheless, the oyster flesh was huge, very meaty and slippery with a hint of natural saltiness. They had a distinctive seawater smell but it was mild enough to be overlooked. But if you’re easily bothered by it, you can squirt lemon juice over the oysters to mask the smell.

Spanner Rock Crabs

Spanner Rock Crabs

These Spanner Rock Crabs were a bit of a hassle to eat. Although they were already broken up at the carapace for patrons’ convenience, other areas like the claws were not. But even with a crab cracker, the shell took awhile to break because they were as hard as rocks. And the amount of cold crab meat you obtain after going through all the trouble is just miserable. Being the lazy person that I am, I don’t think this crab is worth all the effort and mess and I would rather spend the time on cooked crab dishes.

Poached Tiger Prawns

Poached Tiger Prawns

Sushi

Sushi

Salmon Sashimi

Salmon Sashimi

No Asian-theme buffet would be complete without a sushi bar. Likewise for Azur, it was no exception. The miniature sushi corner is stocked with Salmon and Tako sashimi and Ikura Salmon Roe Sushi Rolled with Crêpe that’s specially created to suit the theme. You would also be spoilt for choice with an assortment of Nigiri Sushi like Tamago, Ebi and Tuna. In need of more carbs to fuel your body? Try Cha Soba with Mud Crab Roe and Unagi!

But honestly, unless you’re a diehard sushi fan who, I don’t think the sushi are spectacular and can be skipped. The Salmon Sashimi were in dull orange and they lacked the shiok factor because they weren’t cold enough although they were replenished quite regularly. There were definitely other foods at the buffet that were more worthy of your stomach space.

Hot Asian and Western Crab Dishes

A varied selection of crab and seafood-theme Asian and Western dishes can be found at two show kitchens. The Hawker Stall features a different popular local crab dish rotated every thirty minutes to an hour. I spotted Salted Egg Crab while making my rounds and maybe Curry Crab too. If you’re lucky enough, you may find other crab dishes like Wok Fried Cereal Crab, Black Peppercorn Crab and Singapore Chilli Crab.

Salted Egg Crab

Salted Egg Crab

The Salted Egg Crab is another favourite dish of mine that evening. Coated with thick and grainy golden salted egg batter, the crabs were cut up into manageable portions with almost an equal proportions of meat in every little piece. Among them were chunks of salted egg batter which you can probably just eat for fun. Despite using smaller crabs for this dish, there was surprisingly an abundance of meat and the crab shell was interestingly edible as well!

Crab-Chicken Meat Stuffed Grilled Bell Peppers

Crab-Chicken Meat Stuffed Grilled Bell Peppers

Spanish Paella with Baked Crab and Tomato Sauce

Spanish Paella with Baked Crab and Tomato Sauce

If you’re beginning to suffer from crab-fatigue, fret not! There are also other hot dishes available at the Hawker Stall. There you will be able to find Crayfish with Blue Sea Prawn and Minced Chicken in “Rendang Style” and a Thai-inspired dish called “Bamee Poo”. The latter is an egg vermicelli noodle dish mixed with a rich sauce made of garlic, fish sauce and light sauce, topped with sweet steamed crab meat, fried ikan bilis and tangy green mustard. Whoa! Sounds absolutely marvelous, doesn’t it?

Blue Sea Prawn & Minced Chicken in Rendang Style

Blue Sea Prawn & Minced Chicken in Rendang Style

Deep-fried Crabmeat and Tofu with Leek & Oyster Sauce

Deep-fried Crabmeat and Tofu with Leek & Oyster Sauce

Grilled Beef Yakitori with Crabmeat Ball

Grilled Beef Yakitori with Crabmeat Ball

For diners who are looking for western options, some of the highlights from the Western show kitchen are the Saffron Rice with Tomato Crab, Baked Whole Barramundi Fish with Crab Meat Herbs Crust, BBQ Sri Lanka Crab, Crispy Dungeness Crab Cakes with Chestnuts in Mango-Pineapple Salsa and Steamed Stone Claw with Zesty Orange Horseradish Sauce.

Baked Whole Barramundi Fish with Crab Meat Herbs Crust

Baked Whole Barramundi Fish with Crab Meat Herbs Crust

Another highly sought-after dish at Azur, the whole Barramundi Fish (also known as Asian Seabass) was reduced to a partial skeleton within minutes of putting it out for the public to devour. The skin of the fish was fried to a crisp and its flesh were luscious and juicy. I had never seen nor tasted crust made of crab meat before so this was certainly new and refreshing to me.

Dessert Island

Finally, complete your feast with some desserts. At the dessert corner, you will be able to find timeless classics like Durian Pancakes and Chocolate Fountain with mixed berries, melons and marshmellows. Other forms of chilled miniature desserts are also available should you be too replete for anything more. All pastries except for the kuehs are personally prepared by the chef himself.

Durian Pancake

Durian Pancake

Regrettably, the miniature durian pancakes were a bit of a letdown. Not only were they cold and slightly soggy because they were obviously mass-prepared and left to cool for awhile, the pancake itself felt a little too mushy and starchy for my liking. Their only saving grace was perhaps the durian pulp which was fragrant (duh!) and creamy.

Kueh Pie Tee

Kueh Pie Tee

Ingredients for Kueh Pie Tee

Ingredients for Kueh Pie Tee

Marshmallows to dip into the chocolate fondue

Marshmallows to dip into the chocolate fondue

Garnishes for your ice cream

Garnishes for your ice cream

If I still had space for ice cream, I would have totally gone crazy with the garnishes especially those M&Ms chocolates!

Lemon Curd Pie

Lemon Curd Pie

With a portion so small, you definitely won’t feel guilty about eating these Lemon Curd Pie. Dressed with berries and a mixture of stevia and lemon powder, the pie gave an addictively tart flavour which propelled me to get another helping. It was piquant and delicious and I just loved how the beautiful crust crumbled in my mouth.

Green Tea Panna Cotta

Green Tea Panna Cotta

The visually striking presentation of the panna cotta first caught my attention. The soft and silky green tea cream sat cleverly atop a layer of mousse (can’t remember what flavour) and embellished with a rose macaron and a slice of strawberry. The cream had a faint tinge of bitterness but the overall taste was decent. Perhaps it would go better with red bean mousse.

Red Bean Custard

Red Bean Custard

More desserts

More desserts

Nutty Crumble & Coconut Tartlet

Nutty Crumble & Coconut Tartlet

Small enough to fit the entire piece into the mouth, these tartlets were not only aesthetically pleasing but also very easy to eat! Topped with blueberries and pounded nuts, the coconut-laden tartlets were dusted with cocoa powder on the surface. The blueberries lent a sweet flavour and juicy quality to the tartlet which could otherwise be dominated by the bland and fibrous grated coconut. Hence, the resulting taste was an exquisite surprise.

Nonya Kueh

Nonya Kueh

Nonya Kueh

Nonya Kueh

All in all, the extensive spread of high-quality food at the buffet was definitely beyond impressive. I like that diners can literally try all the different crab creations at the same time and to their heart’s content. But I feel the price tag of $75++ per person for a not-so-novel concept (as quite a number of restaurants have already rolled out similar crab-themed buffets in recent years) is a tad extravagant. On the other hand, crab lovers with an insatiable appetite may find the price extremely reasonable. So yeah, to each his own, I guess!

What do you think? How do you find the food? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

Thanks for the warm hospitality, Azur!

Thanks for the warm hospitality, Azur!

Thanks for reading!

The Crab and Crêpe Buffet is priced at $75++ per pax and available for dinner on Friday to Sunday. Prices are subjected to a 10% service charge and prevailing government taxes. Prior reservations are greatly encouraged.

Azur
Crowne Plaza @ Changi Airport
Level 2
75 Airport Boulevard
Singapore 819664
Call 6823 5354 for reservations
Website | Facebook | E-mail

New Eats at 313@somerset + Tring 313 App

MEDIA INVITE

Hey everyone!

Isn’t it amazing that a small country like Singapore would be able to accommodate the countless malls we have today? Take the stretch of Orchard Road for example. To date, there are more than 20 shopping centres housed along the 2.2 kilometre-long boulevard and as a frequent shopper at the retail district, I can totally understand the dilemma of having too many malls to choose from. But I for one prefer to shop at malls that won’t burn a hole in my pocket (unlike y’know, luxury malls) because after all, I’m still a student. A broke ass one, that is.

Therefore I was really elated to know that one of my go-to malls in town – 313@somerset – has rolled out a FREE mobile application to help shoppers to discover exclusive offers and promotion from over 170 retailers within the complex itself!

Like Qoo10 and other group buying sites, the Tring 313 app is regularly updated with time-sensitive deals on food, gadgets and fashion items offered by merchants which you have to prepay to enjoy. It utilises location-based targeting technology to allow users who are within walking distance from their current location to be notified of a featured deal within the mall. But more often than not, these deals are so popular, they get snapped up even before they expire! This shows how much of a massive discount you can get out of these promotions for them to be so well-received.

For instance, I spotted a $30 for $50 Forever21 voucher while I was browsing the app on my bed late one night. As I was too lazy to get off my bed to get my credit card, I left the buying to the next day. But it was already gone when I woke up! Holy shizzle.

(ok lah I woke up pretty late that day, at like 2pm. But you get my point)

Anyway, since its opening in 2009, 313@somerset has been continually renewing and adjusting its tenant mix so if you haven’t been to the mall in ages, you are definitely in for a lovely surprise. Now a completely refreshed mall, it’s been updated with new F&B tenants such as Soup Stock Tokyo, O’ma Spoon, Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory and many more.

Now, let me take your stomach on a virtual culinary tour around some of the latest F&B offerings at 313@somerset. Get your tissue paper on standby to wipe any drool off your face.

Soup Stock Tokyo

Since its inception in Tokyo in 1999, Soup Stock Toyko has expanded with over 70 outlets in Japan and it has recently opened its third in Singapore. It is a fast food chain well-known for its soups which are made with fresh ingredients sourced from Japanese farms. Hungry mall-goers can also look forward to other food choices on the menu such as curry rice. As far as I know, the kitchen at the 313@somerset outlet is headed by a Japanese chef (same goes for the day-to-day operations, also run by a Japanese) to retain its Japanese feel.

There is an ongoing promotion (“2 for 2”) for those who are dining in pairs. For just S$30.80, you and your buddy will get to choose your preferred curry to go along with your rice, a drink and a small soup each.

Drinks: Iced Tea, Lemon Tea Soda and Mint Soda

Drinks: Iced Tea, Lemon Tea Soda and Mint Soda

Soups (from top left, clockwise): Chicken Vegetable Soup, Pork and Tomato Stroganoff, Hokkaido Crab Bisque, Tokyo Beef Borsch

Soups (from top left, clockwise): Chicken Vegetable Soup, Pork and Tomato Stroganoff, Hokkaido Crab Bisque, Tokyo Beef Borsch

The Chicken Vegetable Soup was a clear broth with a choke-full of cabbage and meaty chunks of chicken for an added kick of protein.  It had a mild but refreshing flavour that’s perfect for a chilly day and it’s definitely also the soup to get if you’re looking for a light and healthy entrée.

The Pork and Tomato Stroganoff, on the other hand, was a complete opposite in terms of taste as it was bursting with rich pork and tangy tomato flavours. The soup was slightly spicy on its own but if you have high spice tolerance, it should be subtle enough to slip past your tongue.

When it comes to gourmet soups, I tend to gravitate towards those with a creamier and heavier consistency because they are one comfort classic that help to satiate my hunger at the same time (though I’m not a fan of the calorie and the fat content). Therefore, my favourite out of the 4 soups I had was the Hokkaido Crab Bisque for the same reason. However, unlike other crab bisques I have tasted, the tomatoes (an ingredient which SST seemed to love) which were simmered with the crab stock had kinda overwhelmed the more delicate crab flavour. But overall it was still quite enjoyable. Perhaps SST can consider topping it with croutons to make it taste less “flat”.

Another personal favourite was the Tokyo Beef Borsch which had caramelised onions and tender beef, onions, potato and carrots served in thick and flavourful brown soup. I simply love how the lemon slice and yogurt were strategically positioned to resemble a rising sun with its reflection in the water (I know right, I’m so imaginative hahaha), probably to indicate that it is the soup to drink to brighten up your morning.

Onion Chicken Curry

Onion Chicken Curry and Hokkaido Crab Bisque

Onion Chicken Curry

Onion Chicken Curry

Paired with moist brown rice laced with cooked onion, this dish hits a healthy home run. The pieces of chicken meat were tender and mostly deboned while the curry – a yummy mix of spice (not spicy though) and cashew nuts – was fragrant and thick with a slightly foamy texture on the surface. I enjoyed the taste which leaned more towards the sweet side. The slab of onion in the middle was surprisingly sweet as well and it was soft enough for my fork to cut through it with ease.

Tomato Chicken Curry

Tomato Chicken Curry and Chicken Vegetable Soup

Tomato Chicken Curry

Tomato Chicken Curry

The piquant flavour of the curry came mainly from the tomato so the acidic taste was a little overbearing for me. It kinda reminded me of tomato soup, just slightly sweeter and richer because of the curry (which also contained watercress and spice). But it was a great complement with the moist Japanese rice.

Prices range from S$10.80 for a regular soup set (regular soup + Japanese rice or bread) to S$16.80 for a curry soup set (curry + rice + small soup).

Soup Stock Tokyo @ 313@Somerset
313 Orchard Road
#B-14 & B2-53/53A
Singapore 238895
Operating hours: 10.00am – 10.00pm Daily
Website | Facebook | Instagram


Chabuton

Owned by the world’s first Michelin-starred ramen chef Yasuji Morizumi, this ramen restaurant has made quite a name for itself in both Japan and Thailand. Its first Singapore outlet at 313@somerset was first open in 2014 and since then it has went on to add 3 more outlets across the island.

Feasting like there's no tomorrow

Feasting like there’s no tomorrow

Chabuton signature Ramen

Chabuton signature ramen

Chabuton Kara Kara Miso Ramen

Chabuton Kara Kara Miso Ramen (S$13.40++)

Topped with spicy minced pork and lean char siew slices, I believe it’s a ramen dish specially created for the Singaporean (or Southeast Asian) taste bud since the Japanese generally can’t take spicy food. The pork bone broth is slightly more salty than I expected but from what I understand, patrons can tweak the oil and saltiness level of the soup and the spiciness of the meat to suit their preference.

Chabuton Tonkotsu Ramen

Chabuton Tonkotsu Ramen (S$8.30++/S$11.90++)

Chabuton Tonkotsu Ramen

Chabuton Tonkotsu Ramen

The ramen that made Chabuton famous was also a tad salty (although not as much as the Kara Kara Miso Ramen) but I still preferred this for its creamier and richer broth. All ramen served in pork bone broth are sprinkled with roasted white sesame seeds to give an added texture and flavour.

Shoyu Zaru Ramen

Shoyu Zaru Ramen (S$11.90++)

This was an interesting ramen because there’s a specific way to eat it. The bowl of “soup” beside it is actually Chabuton’s signature Shoyu Sauce which acts as a dipping sauce for the ramen. To enjoy the Shoyu Zaru Ramen, you’d have to keep dipping the noodles into the sauce otherwise it’d just taste absolutely bland and dry. It got pretty tiring after awhile (sorry la I’m very lazy haha) so I ended up dumping a whole bunch of noodles into the warm sauce which turned cold very rapidly under the air-conditioning. But the noodles certainly tasted a lot better and springier after it was “seasoned”.

Hitokuchi Gyoza

Hitokuchi Gyoza (S$5++)

Just one look at the flat bite-sized gyoza and you’d be able to tell that there wasn’t a lot of filling packed into each dumpling. However I liked the skin as it was crispy and not too oily.

Ika Karaage

Ika Karaage (S$5.00++)

The fried squid was cut into small cubes for easy sharing and was completely devoured at the end of the tasting. Each piece of tender squid was coated with a light and crispy batter that went really well with the dab of mayonnaise provided on the same plate.

Aka Ebi Mentai

Aka Ebi Mentai (S$4.90++)

Another side that was a hit among the bloggers was the Aka Ebi Mentai although I felt that the prawns were slightly overcooked as the shell didn’t come off cleanly. Still, they were very meaty and delicious.

Ajitsuke Tamago

Ajitsuke Tamago (S$3.00++ as an add-on with Buta Kakuni)

If you’ve been following my food reviews (especially those on Eggs Benedict), you should know that I’m extremely particular about my eggs – the yolk has to be runny or the meal is ruined. The soft boiled eggs at Chabuton came with a moderately runny yolk that would definitely harden if left a few seconds longer in the pot. *phew*

Chabuton @ 313@somerset
313 Orchard Road
#B2-01
Singapore 238895
Operating hours: 11.30am – 10.00pm Daily
No website | Facebook


O’ma Spoon

The popularity of Korean food is on the rise in Singapore. O’ma Spoon is the republic’s first contemporary Korean dessert café franchise and it specialises in milk snow bingsu and other healthy desserts with most of its ingredients directly imported from Korea.

Yes, apparently bingsu doesn’t just refer to “shaved ice”. It could also mean “shaved milk” (made out of fresh milk) as demonstrated by the creators of the lovely desserts below:

Injeolmi Bingsu

Injeolmi Bingsu (S$12.90)

Injeolmi Bingsu

Injeolmi Bingsu – shaved milk

Wholly covered with Korean soya bean powder were some sticky Injeolmi rice cakes, crunchy cashew nuts and almond flakes layered around the nicely shaven milk ice. It’s a nightmare for people with an allergy to nuts but a total paradise for those who love them.

Mango Cheesecake Bingsu (Premium)

Mango Cheesecake Bingsu (Premium, S$18.90)

Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a slice of cheesecake (ah, didn’t capture it on camera but yes, there was indeed a slice of cheesecake magically stuck to one side) with a generous amount of fresh mangoes, blueberries and almond flakes surrounding the shaved ice, this bingsu is every sweet tooth’s dream and also one of the more value-for-money desserts at O’ma Spoon.

Green Tea Bingsu

Green Tea Bingsu (S$13.90)

Green Tea Bingsu

Green Tea Bingsu – shaved milk

And here comes the flavour that all matcha lovers *raises hand* would go gaga over. Apart from the surface of the shaved ice, you’d be pleasantly surprised to see a layer of matcha powder hidden within when you dig into it. The scoop of sweet green tea ice cream atop the snow mountain was an added bonus. Apart from that, there were also red beans, almond flakes, cashew nuts and a dash of chocolate syrup to enhance the overall texture and taste.

Unless you have a really huge appetite, you may want to consider sharing the bingsu with your friends because the humongous portion is designed for 2 to 3 people.

Injeolmi Toast

Injeolmi Toast (S$8.90)

A cheaper and smaller alternative to the Injeolmi bingsu (if you’re alone), the Injeolmi toast is a simple oven-baked honey bread dusted with Injeolmi powder with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Choco Strawberry Honey Butter Bread

Choco Strawberry Honey Butter Bread (S$14.90)

Or, you could go with a two inch-thick toast slathered with chocolate spread and topped with strawberries, nuts and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. But if I were you, I’d rather spend the money on one of the bingsus because it’s more worthwhile.

O’ma Spoon @ 313@somerset
313 Orchard Road
#04-20/32
Singapore 238895
Operating hours: 10.00am – 10.00pm Daily
Website | Facebook


Pie Face

The world’s leading pie chain from Australia has arrived on the shores of Singapore with new flavours to its line-up of tasty Aussie pies.  Established in 2003, Pie Face is best known for baking all of its gourmet pies from scratch as well as its delicious fillings created by its chief pie baker, Mr Francois Galand. Other than its array of pies, the micro-bakery cafe also serves artisan coffee, crumbly cookies, moist cakes and piping hot soups.

Meet the Pie Faces: Chunky Steak, Chicken + Mushroom, Chicken + Peppercorn, Classic Mince Beef, Thai Green Curry Chicken, Spicy Chicken, Creamy Vegetable, Creamy Mushroom

Meet the mini Pie Faces: Chunky Steak, Chicken + Mushroom, Chicken + Peppercorn, Classic Mince Beef, Thai Green Curry Chicken, Spicy Chicken, Creamy Vegetable, Creamy Mushroom (starting from S$3 each)

The flavours are distinguished by the faces on the pies. Find out more here.

Classic Mince Beef

Classic Mince Beef

Hand-piped with juicy ground beef mixed with onion, fresh coriander, garlic, gravy, tomato paste, these mini classic minced beef pies are savoury enough to make you swoon.

Spicy Chicken

Spicy Chicken

If you’re in for some tongue-tingling heat, you will very much enjoy these spicy chicken pies because they are all packed with chicken meat, onions, garlic, cracked pepper and… chilli padi! The spiciness is no joke, I swear. I took a few bites and my sore throat immediately worsened heaps. Haha! For a non-spicy version, try Thai green curry chicken pie 🙂

The larger version of these pies are also hearty enough to be eaten as a meal.

Sweet Pies (S$3.30 each): Mini Coffee Mousse Pie, Mini Butterscotch Pie, Mini Green Tea with Red Bean Pie, Mini Raspberry Pie, Mini Chocolate Pie, Mini Lemon Pie, Almond Frangipane Pie, Apple Crumble Pie

Old and New Sweet Pies: Mini Coffee Mousse Pie, Mini Butterscotch Pie, Mini Green Tea with Red Bean Pie, Mini Raspberry Pie, Mini Chocolate Pie, Mini Lemon Pie, Almond Frangipane Pie (new), Apple Crumble Pie (new), all at S$3.30 each

Sweet Pies

Pretty colours!

Mini Raspberry Pie and Mini Butterscotch Pie

Mini Raspberry Pie and Mini Butterscotch Pie

The coloured pies are all infused with sweet mousse-like filling (with the exception of the Lemon Pie which had a sour lemon custard). My favourite was the butterscotch pie because it’s so sinfully sweet (hehe).

Pie Face @ 313@somerset
313 Orchard Road
#B3-10
Singapore 238895
Operating hours: 10.00am – 10.00pm Daily
Website | Facebook | Instagram


Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory

Adding to the long list of restaurants specialising in Korean Fried Chicken (KFC) in Singapore is Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory (pronounced chee-ruh chee-ruh) which stands out from the crowd with its unique menu.. and ridiculously big portions which can feed for me for days are meant for sharing among at least 4 diners.

Press for service

To save you from flailing your arms like an idiot

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Chir Cream Beer (full pint at 650ml, S$13.90++, and half pint at 350ml, S$18.90++), refreshing ice cold beer topped with a layer of fresh whipped cream

Lady Killer

Lady Killer (S$16.90++), mojito with an inverted Cass beer

Not a rum lover (or a drinker as a matter of fact) but the Lady Killer was surprisingly decent and refreshing with a not-so-strong alcoholic punch as I could still distinctively taste the lemon and mint. It also makes a great palate cleanser before the main course.

Red-gizer

Red-gizer (S$14.90++), strawberry slushie with coconut milk and an inverted Red Bull can

Don’t you find it fascinating how a simple drink like Red Bull can be transformed into something so sophisticated? The Red-gizer satisfied my sweet cravings with its insanely saccharine flavour.

Many of us were intrigued by how the inverted drink was able to fill the cup with its content without overflowing, and even more so when we realised that it could also replenish the cup every time we took a sip. It must be the angle, yes, but still it didn’t make sense. Since there wasn’t any obstruction at the opening, I reckon the crushed ice also played a part in regulating the flow. Argh, couldn’t have my meal in peace without first unraveling this mystery!

Passion Yellow Tok Tok

Passion Yellow Tok! Tok! (S$14.90++ for non-alcoholic /S$18.90++ for alcoholic), a sweet and sour passion fruit mocktail

Passion Yellow Tok Tok

Passion Yellow Tok! Tok!

The sweet and tart passion fruit base instantly became fizzy beverage with an iSi soda charger. Soju would be added instead if we had gone with the alcoholic option.

Passion Yellow Tok Tok

Passion Yellow Tok! Tok! mixed with Blue Marine Tok! Tok! (S$14.90++ for non-alcoholic /S$18.90++ for alcoholic), a green grape mocktail to give a cool turquoise concoction

Other Tok! Tok! flavours available for you to experiment with are Blue Sky (blue lemonade) and Berry Purple (blueberry and forest berries).

Coconut Milktail

Coconut Milktail (S$12.90++), a sweet strawberry mocktail with soft coconut milk, and the blended Blue Marine and Passion Yellow Tok Tok in the background

Having any two of the above beverages would essentially be enough to fulfill your calorie requirement. They’re so sinful but oh-so-good!

Honey Grape Salad

Honey Grape Salad (S$18.90++)

Looking to begin your meal on an even sweeter note? Try the Honey Grape Salad! It may not be the most appealing salad but boy, it was marvellous. Toss the chilled seedless grapes, raisins, walnuts, almonds with the ricotta and whipped cream and you’re ready to eat. The sugary and crispy tortillas were nice and crumbly and they balanced out the juiciness of the grapes.

Nest Snow

Nest Snow (S$32.90++)

Nest Snow

Nest Snow

Seasoned with cajun (note: spicy) and topped with whipped cream, these chicken tenders that sit atop a bed of creamy white cheesy sauce and sweet salad (was pleased to see broccoli) were a bizarre combination but the taste proved to be totally off the charts.

Crispy Fried Wings

Crispy Fried Wings (S$26.90++)

Crispy Fried Wings

Crispy Fried Chicken

I’ve heard great things about the fried chicken but the crispy fried chicken I had were disappointing – bland and too dry for my liking, probably because the kitchen was overwhelmed with orders that day (there was already a long queue waiting outside the restaurant at 2pm).

Garlicky Wings

Garlicky Wings! (S$28.90++)

Garlicky Wings

Garlicky Wings!

Garlicky wings had a more promising flavour, of course. Topped with garlic flakes and fried garlic cloves to live up to its title, the crispy wings were doused in rich, fragrant, caramel-coloured soya sauce that didn’t quite deliver. The soya flavour was more muted as compared to that of soya chicken wings I’ve had elsewhere.

Spicy Wings

Spicy Wings! (S$28.90++)

Spicy Wings

Spicy Wings!

The spicy wings stole the limelight. They were well-marinated which evened out the spiciness of the chilli sauce. I gotta admit, they were indeed spicy so you may need to take a few big gulps of water in between to mellow down the heat.

Rosemary Herb Roasted Chicken

Rosemary Herb Roasted Chicken (S$29.90++)

Rosemary Herb Roasted Chicken

Rosemary Herb Roasted Chicken

A healthier alternative to fried chicken, the roasted chicken was aromatic and succulent in general, though some pieces were slightly drier.  All in all, the woodsy rosemary marinade really enhanced the overall meat flavour

Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory @ 313@somerset
313 Orchard Road
#B3-04/05/06
Singapore 238895
Operating hours: Sun – Thur 10.00am – 10.00pm, Fri – Sat 10.00am – 11.00pm
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Dinata

Its 313@somerset outlet is its only take-away kiosk in Singapore, specialising in traditional and authentic Portuguese snacks and pastries using only the freshest and highest quality ingredients.

Our pastries were delivered to our table packed in paper bags so some of them may appear a little lopsided. Let’s just focus on the taste, shall we?

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Indulgent treats (from left): Chicken Drumstick, Chocolate Doughssan, Cornucopia Hazelnut and Portugese Egg Tart

Portuguese Egg Tart

Portuguese Egg Tart (S$2.80)

The tart was a bit of a letdown because the crust wasn’t very flaky (in fact it was a little soggy) and it kinda lacked the light texture I hoped for. I came across some online reviews on their egg tarts and understood that it was supposed to have cinnamon sugar sprinkled on the surface. But that seemed to be missing from my tart. Having said that, the custard was smooth and I don’t mind giving their signature pastry a shot again (definitely with the Tring 313 app!) because after all, I love egg tarts.

Chicken Drumstick

Chicken Drumstick (S$1.20 for mini, S$2.20 for regular)

Known as Coxinha in Portuguese, this pastry contains thick chicken chunks covered in dough and moulded into a shape that resembles a chicken drumstick (hence the name), battered with bread crumbs and deep fried to give the golden brown appearance. The semi-cooked dough that lined the inner wall of the batter reminded me of glutinous rice, soft and sticky, while the chicken meat was more on the dry side. Nonetheless, this makes a suitable snack to combat hunger in between meals. Other variations available are the crab and prawn drumsticks specially catered to seafood lovers.

Cornucopia Hazelnut

Cornucopia Hazelnut (S$1.20 for mini, S$2.20 for regular)

These cone-shaped pastries, perhaps inspired from the shape of a conus (cone shell), were glazed with white icing and hand-piped with thick hazelnut cream that had a mild roasted taste to it. I started devouring it from the pointed end to prevent smearing my lips with the cream. Also comes with strawberry and coconut flavours for those with inquisitive taste buds.

Chocolate Doughssan

Chocolate Doughssan (S$1.20 for mini, S$2.20 for regular)

With a thick coat of chocolate frosting spread all over the top and rich, velvety chocolate cream infused into the topmost layer, these lip-smacking chocolate doughssans (a hybrid of donut and croissant) are the perfect alternative to éclairs for your parties. They were light and airy like donuts but lost out on the flakiness of croissants. Would probably taste better after warming it up (available upon request). Not fond of chocolates? There are also cream doughssans for you to indulge in.

Dinata @ 313@somerset
313 Orchard Road
#B3-42
Singapore 238895
Operating hours: 11.00am – 10.00pm
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Hvala Waffle Bar

Operating on the same ground is Hvala, a dessert kiosk run by a young couple that sells waffles with a twist, and vanilla soft serve. But unlike typical ice cream parlours, Hvala serves their specialties separately because each of them is handcrafted with unique flavours (and toppings) that work on their own.

By the way, Hvala is pronounced as “hva-la” with the h spoken quickly. But as we all know, Singaporeans have lazy tongue so the unofficial pronunciation is “fa-la”. Hvala is Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian for thank you and it was chosen as the business name to capture the essence of the amazing hospitality and service of the Croatians.

Of Waffles and Ice Cream

Of Waffles and Ice Cream

Real Vanilla Soft Serve with Salted Caramel

Real Vanilla Soft Serve with Salted Caramel (S$3.00)

Real Vanilla Soft Serve with Chocolate Fondue

Real Vanilla Soft Serve with Chocolate Fondue (S$3.00)

Real Vanilla Soft Serve with Maple Syrup

Real Vanilla Soft Serve with Maple Syrup (S$3.00 without the toppings)

The high-quality soft serve ice creams are made with vanilla beans (evident from the little black specks all over the swirls) and they were seriously so decadent and creamy, they made all the vanilla ice cream I had before look bad. Had thought that I would prefer salted caramel more to the other two but I actually fell in love with the one drizzled with maple syrup. It blended well with the ice cream and enhanced the overall sweetness. The one with chocolate fondue required a bit more effort to eat because the chocolate hardened very rapidly above the cool temperature of the frozen food, therefore making it difficult to dig into the ice cream.

Enjoy a cup of vanilla soft serve to go with any waffles of your choice for just an additional S$2.50!

You can have your waffle tucked beneath the ice cream too!

NEW: You can have your waffle tucked beneath the ice cream too! (price varies according to the toppings you put)

Ooh waffle!

Ooh waffle!

I know I mentioned that their waffles and soft serve are sold separately but I guess after taking into consideration all the feedback from their customers, they had eventually decided to incorporate the waffle into the ice cream! But nothing beats having the full-sized waffles which come with many different toppings though.

Original Hvala Waffle

Original Hvala Waffle – served with maple syrup, icing sugar and cocoa powder (S$3)

Apple Cinnamon Waffle

Apple Cinnamon Waffle – caramelised apples with pastry cream, salted caramel and cinnamon powder (S$3.50)

Tiramisu Waffle

Tiramisu Waffle – homemade tiramisu cream and chocolate shavings (S$3.80)

The waffles, especially the original and apple cinnamon, were absolutely amazeballz. They were made to perfection – warm and crunchy on the outside and fluffy and soft on the inside. The portion was just right. I could easily finish one on my own if not for my exploding belly.

Prices are relatively affordable as you can tell and its popularity is slowly picking up (there was a short queue for it when I was there). Give it a couple of years and you will see outlets after outlets emerging all around the island.

Hvala Waffle Bar @ 313@somerset
313 Orchard Road
#B3-50
Singapore 238895
Operating hours: 11.00am – 10.00pm Daily
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Oh am gee, are you spoilt for choice? If you wish to go on a food trail (like this) and try all the food featured above, perhaps the app I mentioned earlier can be of some help! With the Tring 313 app, you can take advantage of the deep discounts offered by these retailers and indulge in a feast without overspending.

Some current offers on Tring 313

Some current offers on Tring 313

Hvala Waffle Bar deal happening right now!

You can pay through PayPal or with your credit card!

You can download Tring 313 here (iOs) or here (Android).

Have fun pigging out and remember to tag @313somerset and hashtag #wealwaysshare and #313foodie in your photos on Instagram to gain likes from lurkers (hawhawhaw)!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

313@somerset

313 Orchard Road
Singapore 238895
Nearest MRT: Somerset
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